Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Big Cartel

Unfortunately, the high hopes we had for the Big Cartel shop we opened a few months back haven't really worked out as we'd planned.  Having the shop accessible through our facebook page seemed like a great opportunity to allow our likers to buy directly from the tab on the page and compliment our Folksy and Etsy shops but sadly sales have been very slow and not really worth the cost of the package we chose. 

Perhaps with a greater focus and more effort on our part we could have driven more customers into the shop and may still manage that at some point, but for the time being we have decided to scale the shop right down to its bare bones on the free package.  This has proved to be an interesting excercise during my current efforts to expand my side of the business as the restrictions on the minimum package mean choosing only the most signature elements of how I would like my brand to look.   

The limit of five products have made me think about the most key pieces in my range and how to present them effectively.  On the free package you only have one product image per listing so I have decided to use montages to show all the design variations I'm offering on each product.  This means I am at least quartering the size of the images the customer will see by putting 3 or four tiles in one image so I needed to choose the template with the largest images possible.  There are only three available on the free package so I have gone with 'sidecar' customised to show a maximum of six images.

Unfortunately, design and brand-wise the template is not that ideal.  I have copied my colours and background successfully from the old shop, there is even the option to use our fave font courier new, but the heading is small - tiny in fact and the reduced size is pixelised and a bit rubbish!  I really like the rollover option for the product info and price and the cart is user friendly but it just doesn't look much like a shop any more.  My bio has to go onto a separate page so there is no introduction, proper header, description - nothing like that.

BUT beggars can't be choosers and I do think that you can get something worthwhile from the free package. The limitations make you look at your products and think about presentation in a very different way and pare your range down into the most important elements.  I really like these catalogue style composite images and think they look rather nice on both the original shop and the facebook version - I may well use them elsewhere.  It may be that we still don't sell much but it's cost nothing but time and I admit to rather enjoying the excercise!  What do you think?

Paula x


Excuses excuses, yes this blog is as stale as the loaf ends you never eat but there are reasons for this, real ones...well OK, some real - some made up and then hidden from!  The fact is, my kids are bigger now and I am now in a position to stop faffing about and get this business moving and shaking into something bigger and better.  So why haven't I?  Well I could cite lots of mitigating circumstances, health issues, commitments blah de blah but the real truth is... I am a chicken - bok bok bok!

What if I'm not good enough?  What if my brain falls away like wet cake again and I can't cope? What if no one wants my stuff? What if they do want it, buy it and then it all drops to bits? (I dreamt that one!) What if I don't know what I'm doing and mess it up? What if I go to meet people and they hate me?   Any of these things could happen so just in case I will sit on my hands and do nothing, nothing at all - because I am a chicken.....BOK bok bok bok!

I haven't got my website sorted yet therefore I can't change my email address yet, therefore I can't order business cards yet, therefore I can't approach any potential clients, apply for funding, trade fairs and other events yet.  All this I convince myself is completely true, totally unavoidable, just how things are - except I know it's not, I'm just a chicken - bok BOK!

Seriously though, I know that there is a legitimate mental health reason for my avoiding things the way I have been recently and my flippancy about it is really a long overdue, self-administered kick up the butt!   I am most likely writing this rather self-indulgent post as a form of catharsis despite my usual aversion to over-sharing but if I don't face up to things and get to work soon I will never go on holiday ever again. This would be much, much worse, both for me and all those in my immediete vicinity (ask anyone who was near me at the end of the seven airport-free years - it was ugly!).  

So, coming up for me soon will be *drumroll* a new website with a shop, some new wholesale catalogues, a newsletter, some enhanced and glorious new(ish) branding for my range and everything getting generally pulled together into something that means business and looks like it does!   I'm starting with a review of our current online presence with Big Cartel up first so you will be relieved to hear that this post will be shortly followed by some normal work related ones about what's happening with the new, improved Wychbury - relax, I'm done sharing now, many thanks for indulging me!

Big love, Paula x

PS I would very much like to thank Craft Soup and especially the amazing, inspiring ladies of the admins group past and present for the endless support and friendship, without whom this unprecedented display of self examination would not have taken place!  Love you mad lot, please don't ever leave me pxxxxxxx